Those plagued with back problems will find encouragement in new research on an ancient practice. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that acupuncture might banish back pain nearly twice as effectively as conventional medicine. Over the course of six weeks, 774 adults with chronic lower-back pain underwent acupuncture treatments, while 388 patients received a combination of medication, physical therapy, and exercise.
Those given acupuncture had a nearly 45 percent drop in pain intensity, while the others only had a 27 percent pain decrease. "Up to 85 percent of all people will suffer back pain at some point, generally as they get older," says study author Heinz Endres, M.D. Acupuncture might not help everyone, he says, but this ancient, Chinese healing technique represents a "highly promising" treatment option and a low-risk alternative to pain medication -- one thought to stimulate the body's release of pain-killing chemicals. To find an acupuncturist near you, visit aaaomonline.org.
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